Iris has formed into a tropical cyclone again off the Queensland coast

Ex-tropical cyclone Iris off the coast of Queensland on Monday morning. Photo: EarthWindMap. Courtesy: Brisbane Times

A tropical low hovering off the coast of Queensland has again developed into a cyclone, sparking warnings of heavy rainfall and dangerous winds for the far north coast.

Tropical Cyclone Iris has been heading slowly towards Australia over the past week, after deteriorating into a tropical low, but only reformed into a cyclone on Monday. 

On Monday morning, the system was a category one storm in the Coral Sea about 400 kilometres east of Cairns and moving south-west at 13km/h.

The system was expected to continue southwesterly throughout the day before slowing on Monday night and turning east on Tuesday.

Its predicted path was uncertain but it was not expected to cross the coast.

Initial advice from the Bureau of Meteorology rated the system only a medium chance of intensifying into a cyclone on Monday, with the likelihood increasing on Tuesday to higher than 50 per cent.

“She has shown some pretty significant signs of development in the last 24 hours,” senior forecaster Diana Eadie told ABC Radio Brisbane.

“We have increased the tropical cyclone likelihood from low to moderate for today, and to high on Tuesday.”  

In the meantime, communities from Innisfail to Proserpine have been warned to brace for wind gusts of more than 100km/h and 24-hour rainfall of as much as 200-300 millimetres.

The looming wild weather comes after the far north was drenched by rain from ex-cyclone Nora, which had formed in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

There was widespread flash flooding across the Cape York Peninsula, with some areas near Cairns copping more than 100 millimetres in a few hours.

Swiftwater rescue and SES floodboat crews have been deployed between Cairns and Rockhampton and residents warned to prepare ahead of time.

“While local capability and capacity is very strong, ex-tropical cyclone Iris is continuing to track towards Queensland, and could bring heavy rainfall and gale force winds from late tomorrow,” Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said on Sunday.

“Extra crews have been deployed to bolster the response capability. These crews can be moved to areas most likely to be impacted by heavy rain as the track of the weather system becomes clearer.